Review: The Lego Movie
PLOT: When an ordinary LEGO construction worker is mistaken for a hero, he finds himself on an adventure of a lifetime. With a myriad of Superheroes and MasterBuilders, he must find his own voice to help stop an evil LEGO tyrant from destroying this brand new world he discovers along the way.
When an animated film finds that delicate balance which enables it to please both children and adults alike, it is a wonderful thing. The fact that a movie based on a toy can achieve this as perfectly as THE LEGO MOVIE does is a February miracle. Delightfully witty and energetic, this engaging flick manages to create a sense of wonder for everybody. The filmmakers have cleverly gathered together a number of movie icons all in one big-hearted and funny adventure.
The story begins with Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), a well-meaning LEGO that just wants to fit in. He goes to his job at a construction company, smiles and waves and obeys all the rules like a good little LEGO. He respects and admires the leader of all LEGO land, President Business (Will Ferrell) and serves him well. He also loves the most popular song “Everything is Awesome” – which is on continuous play everywhere he goes. Yet things change for our hero when he discovers a LEGO piece that very well may save the LEGO world. This little piece he accidentally finds after he notices the smart and sexy Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) looking around the construction site after hours. Soon he is dragged into a world where he faces the facts, that everything is NOT awesome and that President Business has devious plans.
If this sounds a little strange, it is but in an imaginatively appealing way. With so many characters introduced, it is extremely impressive how the filmmakers manage to fit it all in. Writer/director team Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 JUMP STREET, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS) manage to bring in a number of superheroes including Batman (Will Arnett), Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders) and a couple of surprises that I won’t give away here – if you don’t want to know avoid looking at the cast list on IMDB – all of them in ingenious ways. Add to that a few other quirky characters like Benny the Spaceman (Charlie Day), Unikitty (Alison Brie) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) who attempts to destroy President Business – or Lord Business when he is evil. I mustn’t forget the brilliant Good Cop/Bad Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) who serves Lord Business much to his own dismay.
This smart and satisfying script ably balances all these LEGO characters without sacrificing the main focus. With a ton of cameos – a couple of which may end up being the funniest thing you’ll see this year – this is still Emmet’s story. The idea of a lonely soul needing to break free from his solitude is especially well played and Pratt is a perfect voice for him. His adventure and growth will certainly resonate with audiences on a number of levels. Even when they poke fun at the little fella with his dumb ideas that may not be so dumb, it is a great lesson to be learned. His story is especially moving near the final half hour with a surprising and believable revelation.
Lord and Miller have a real gift for visually giving life to these animated tales. The world of LEGO has never looked so impressive and I dare you to see this and not want to go directly to the store and buy a box. Thankfully though, this never feels as though they are trying to sell you a product. They create this world using the very idea of LEGO as building blocks and give way to an exciting landscape. From the many battles – dare I say there may have been too many – to the gag of the toys being used as toys, they bring this world to life. With the help of 3D you will be fully immersed in this building block inspired fantasy. Yes, the young ones will want to see this in 3D.
THE LEGO MOVIE is a joyous celebration of childhood and imagination. The one flaw that I found is that the film runs just about ten minutes too long. With that, the myriad of on-screen fights occasionally become repetitive, yet that is a minor complaint. With a third act as warm and emotional as this it is a journey that will be rewarded. Creatively cast and sharply written, this is a family movie that will please nearly every single person who has ever played with LEGO or the based on video games. Although fair warning, you may not be able to get that damn song out of your head for days… “Everything is Awesome!” Well, this movie surely is!